Charles County, MD – Three Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teams advance to the Special Olympics Maryland 2016 State High School Indoor Bocce Tournament next week after earning first place in their division at the district event held Feb. 2. Teams from La Plata and Maurice J. McDonough high schools, as well as a team of students from Henry E. Lackey and Westlake high schools, will advance to the state event set for Feb. 11 at Hagerstown Community College.

The district event was separated into three levels of competition – divisions one through three – and teams from all seven Charles County public high schools competed. The first place winners in each division are invited to compete at the state level with teams from other high schools across the state.

Bocce is a sport played on a bocce court, or an area of play featuring a hard surface. The goal of the sport is to roll a bocce ball closest to a target ball, which is called a pallina. Teams earn points for how close their bocce balls roll or end near the pallina.

Teams are split into divisions of competition according to criteria such as age, gender and physical ability levels to ensure that all participants have equal opportunities to participate and be recognized for being a part of a team. Unified sports teams are composed of a combination of students with and without abilities who train together and compete against other unified teams.

The Lackey/Westlake team earned first place among teams competing in division one of the event. Team members are Max Bode, senior; Blake Demby, freshman; Shawn Edwards, sophomore; Eli Frimpong, Adult Independence Program (AIP) student; Kavon Green Johnson, junior; Megan Luskey, sophomore; Anthony Macri, sophomore; and Alyson Roberts, freshman. The team coaches are Lackey special education teachers Jake Fladd and Kylie Swanson.

A team from La Plata earned a first-place win among teams competing in division two of the event. Team members are Mai Dinh, senior; Trisha Enesperos, senior; Sarah Gough, junior; Heba Habib, senior; Danielle Murphy, AIP student; Justin Ryan, senior; Rebecca Stine, senior; and Paige Upright, junior. Team coaches are William Boehm, technology education teacher at La Plata, and Matthew Petricoin, vision teacher at Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School. 

A team from McDonough received a first-place award among competing teams in division three of the tournament. Members of the team include Ingrid Braun, senior; Keydrea Harris, freshman; Michael Malherek, senior; Aaron Morphew, sophomore; Robert Mullins, AIP student; Jodie Parlett, senior; and Michael Proctor, AIP student. Coaches of the team are David Bradshaw, physical education teacher at McDonough, and Jeff Mathews, special education teacher at McDonough.